|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
||For More Information, Contact:
|July 21, 2004
||Coria Holland, Director of Communications
||617-727-5335, ext. 258
THANKS TO DILIGENCE
OF WESTBOROUGH PROBATION CHIEF MOTHER RECEIVES CHILD
SUPPORT IN CASE THAT
DATES BACK MORE THAN 30 YEARS
A Worcester County single mother gave up
on ever receiving child support payments from her ex-husband.
The ex-husband, Paul M. McNeil, was brought into court
on numerous occasions, dating back to 1971, for failing
to pay and then eventually vanished.
To her surprise, more than 30 years later,
the mother received a call from Westborough District Court
Acting Chief Probation Officer Steve Santora who informed
her that her husband was brought into custody and forced
to pay the overdue child support amount of $17,500. The
woman, who does not want to be identified for fear that
she will embarrass her two grown children now in their
mid-30's, wrote a letter to Westborough District Court
First Justice Paul S. Waickowski which praises Santora
for his efforts.
She wrote: "I picked up a check for a portion
of some very overdue child support at the Westborough Court
House. This was a wonderful surprise for me as my children
are grown and this case goes back to the many years I struggled
to support them on my own. Steve Santora handed the check
to me. I was very happy to meet him as he had worked with
great determination to obtain this money for me. Long after
I had given up hope, Steve kept saying "I really want to
get this money for you" and he kept trying."
In 1971, a Westborough District Court judge
ordered McNeil to pay $105 a week in child support to his
wife and two children. McNeil was inconsistent in his payments.
Three years later, his weekly payments were lowered to
$95 a week. McNeil again failed to make the payments and
later moved to Florida where he spent time in out of prison.
Meantime, his former wife continued with
her life and "resigned" herself to finding a job and raising
her children without any financial assistance.
"He (McNeil) made promises to the children
that he never kept. Eventually, I heard through a friend
that he had died. After that, I never thought anything
about it. I just did what I had to do. When I got a call
from Steve, it was a pleasant shock," the mother said.
The woman and her two grown children celebrated
with a trip to Disney World.Santora had some involvement
with the supervising of this case during the span of his
career from his position as Probation Officer to the time
he was appointed Acting Chief Probation Officer. The case
became a cold case in 1989, according to Santora, but "reared
its head" in October 2000 when McNeil called his attorney
to negotiate a return to Massachusetts. He disappeared
again. Then, Santora received a lucky break in the case.
"I received information that he was in Florida
and ran a record check and found that he had been arrested
for OUI. The Florida police gave me an address. We attempted
to track him down but he had moved from the address. We
found him at another address in Royal Palm Beach, Florida
and sought assistance from the District Attorney and the
local police. He was arrested and brought back to Massachusetts," Santora